Shepparton News

HOPING FOR A CROWD AT MEDAL COUNT

MURRAY LEAGUE HOLDING OUT HOPE IT WILL BE ABLE TO HAVE A CROWD AT ITS BIG NIGHT OF NIGHTS

- By Josh Huntly

It has been nearly two years since Murray Football League best-andfairest­s were crowned and the league is hoping the first medal count since 2019 will have a crowd on hand.

The O’Dwyer Medal vote count has been earmarked for midNovembe­r and the league has expressed a desire to hold an inperson awards night.

Many leagues are set to host virtual award nights due to ongoing COVID-19 restrictio­ns, which ultimately forced the cancellati­on of this year’s season.

General manager Dale Norman said the league was happy to wait in the hope restrictio­ns on crowd caps eased and the recipient of the league’s highest honour received the appropriat­e recognitio­n.

“We would prefer an in-person event,” Norman said.

“We think to do it via social media or Zoom would take away the special feeling a player may have in accepting the award.

“The last thing we want is a player sitting at a kitchen table or at a bench winning a medal — we want them to have a great experience.”

Various options are being considered in an effort to bring together players, coaches and officials, including hosting an outdoor event or — as a last resort — having clubs host their own smaller function in the event of a virtual medal night.

“If we’re hindered by how many people we can have in one area, clubs can have their own little function and celebrate with players who receive awards,” Norman said.

Clubs across the league have moved their focus to formulatin­g their own plans to recognise their best performers in the wake of the season cancellati­on.

Moama Football Netball Club is currently working out the particular­s of its own best-and-fairest count.

While the Pies are hopeful of getting the club together, president Matt Lake acknowledg­ed that this year’s event could be held via Facebook, a prospect many clubs in the area are facing.

“We’re just doing the groundwork as a committee for that now,” Lake said.

“I’ve noticed clubs elsewhere have held virtual events.

“You do want that face-to-face night, but we’ll host a virtual night if need be.”

Goulburn Valley League recently announced its Morrison and Wellman medal counts would take place virtually on September 21, with Kyabram District League’s big night also set to be online on October 1.

Mulwala’s Jackson Gash and Rumbalara’s Elenoa Naimalua are the reigning Murray league football and netball best-and-fairests respective­ly.

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